No Pain, No Gain: Breast is Best?
When I first breast fed Avery, it hurt. A LOT. Oh no, I thought. Something's wrong.
To me, the standard information on breastfeeding that’s available online and in lactation classes is similar to those cliché tampon commercials centered around women wearing white and doing cartwheels in fields of flowers. In a word: Unattainable.
While pregnant with my daughter Avery, Milt and I went to a Breastfeeding Basics class at a nearby hospital. The teacher was friendly, and the class had its helpful parts, but looking back, I disagree with one of the main takeaways of the course: Breastfeeding is natural. It shouldn’t hurt. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.
Watching smiling twenty-somethings bragging about the amazing protection of the latest tampon release, the most emotion you could muster was probably irritation. But when you’re a bleary-eyed new mom trying to literally keep your infant alive with your body, any undue pressure can be a game changer.
When I first breast-fed Avery, IT. HURT. A LOT. Oh no, I thought to myself. Something’s wrong.
Our second day in the hospital post delivery, a lactation consultant stopped by our room and observed Avery’s latch. “Perfect!” she said, “looks good.” But it hurts, I told her. It’s not supposed to hurt. She assured me everything is fine.
And it got worse before it got better. But I stuck it out because… I’m not sure why. I’m glad I did because after about a week and a half, it did get better. I nursed Avery for a year before I weaned her off.
How many women attempt to breastfeed, experience pain, and then stop altogether because they assume they’re doing something wrong? I know a few in my own social circle. You have to wonder that if they were prepared for possibility of pain (much like we are for childbirth) there would be a higher chance of breastfeeding continuing in the long run.